Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.
She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has…
Tell Me More: There is a scene early in Mortal Heart that stayed with me through the rest of this 444-page book. Annith is desperate to be sent on a mission of her own, and she takes an opportunity during archery lessons to show the full extent of her abilities. Her focus is singular, and her talents undeniable: she hits the mark with all 12 of her arrows. It’s that focus which is the lifeblood of the last novel in the His Fair Assassins trilogy, a testament to the heights one can achieve even in grave situations.
Mortal Heart is a compelling twist on the idea of the people left behind in a war, and the roles they play in supporting those on the front line. Ismae and Sybella were sent out to live up to their skills as assassins, while Annith is passed over again and again. Her frustration is palpable and not at all difficult to understand, considering how skilled she iseven without the gifts of Mortain. Her determination and cleverness are only matched by how much she believes in herself. As a reader, I found it easiest to relate to Annith and her quiet forms of rebellion, made more captivating by LaFevers’ confident writing style. The voice she employs for Annith is more matter-of-fact in its narration, perceptive but still young.
Readers new to the series will not find it challenging to enter with Annith, as the novel takes place in conjunction with the events of Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph. Annith centers the story in the abbey, providing perspective on the changes taking place there. When she does leave, the action is still concentrated on her and the contributions she learns she can make to the duchess’ cause. An encounter with Balthazaar, a puzzling and intense man, stirs emotions in Annith that are beautifully and naturally developed. Saying anything else would mean delving into spoilers, but it was an unexpected twist, and a choice that says so much about Annith’s strength of character.
The Final Say: Robin LaFevers ends her gorgeous historical trilogy as she began it: with a young woman pursuing her future and growing more confident in herself with every challenge. Mortal Heart is a fitting conclusion to the series, and will make readers yearn for more of Ismae, Sybella, and Annith.
Robin LaFevers was raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Bulfinch’s mythology, and 19th century poetry. It is not surprising she grew up to be a hopeless romantic.
Though she has never trained as an assassin or joined a convent, she did attend Catholic school for three years, which instilled in her a deep fascination with sacred rituals and the concept of the Divine. She has been on a search for answers to life’s mysteries ever since.
While many of those answers still elude her, she was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever after with him in the foothills of southern California.